When Does Or Should Workers’ Compensation Start Paying?

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When does workers' comp start paying?

When should workers' comp start paying?

These are two rather interesting questions that should, but don't have a simple answer. Let's try and answer the second one first. Injured workers should start getting paid after they are out of work for 3 or more days following a work related injury. If you're out of work for 10 days or more then they are supposed to catch you up and pay those 3 initial days off of work.

But should and does are two different things not entirely clear under the law. It seems the insurance industry and the employer understand the nuances of the law and how to exploit a concept called delay. First if your workers' compensation claim is disputed you are for all practical purposes screwed; because the insurance company will refuse to pay and simply ‘no joy'; which under the law they have every right to do. If it appears your claim is covered but the adjuster sees any question in coverage they will delay pending an investigation. After all they do realize if later your claim is found not covered good luck getting the money back from the injured worker. You can't get blood out of a turnip and they know that to be the case. If on the other hand they start paying, and can later cut off the payments until things get cleared up. But for purposes today let's make the assumption your case for payment is clear and they start paying. In some cases I see the insurance company just start paying the first day and others don't. It all really depends on the seriousness of your injury and if common sense tells us this type of injury will require you to be out of work longer than 10 days.

As an example say you have a soft tissue strain that may or may not require long term care? Well then you're probably not going to get paid until out for more than 3 days and then they will wait for you to be out 10 days before they make up those initial three days.

Or say you break your leg and you're an over-the-road trucker who has to unload cargo. Chances are you'll need to see the orthopedic surgeon, do follow-up and then participate in physical therapy, an injury so serious it's unlikely you'll be back to work before the cows come home in a month or two. Wanting to save themselves time they will start paying on day Uno knowing this is going to take a while before you're back in the truck. The same could be said for a cop, a nurse, a doctor, oops not a lawyer, a factory worker, a deliver driver and any other worker requiring a lot of walking and being up on your feet all day.

Hopefully that answers your question.


If you've been injured on the job it's important to speak with an experienced workers' comp attorney. Please feel free to contact us online or call us directly at 515.222.1110 to schedule your free, no obligation consultation.

Steve Lombardi
Iowa personal injury, workers' compensation, motorcycle, quadriplegic, paraplegic, brain injury, death
5 Comments
I know the frustration felt by employees hurt on the job and feel like they are getting the run around. I got hurt on December 16 2017 and still have not even seen any checks or had any appointments with the dr.s. I hurt my back at work and had to be taken by ambulance to the E.R. They performed an MRI and found that I had 4 discs bulging and one moved 9mm and is laying on the root on my main nerve in my back so I'm in alot of pain. I hired a lawyer to handle my case but my work and their insurance company is holding up things and all I want is to be able to pay my bills and get fixed and go back to work.
by Thomas Davis February 8, 2018 at 02:36 AM
Just because they are friendly doesn't mean they are your friend. If you reported the injury to your employer then call the insurance adjuster, twice a day asking for an answer as to why you are not being paid. Has the doctor taken you off work with a written excuse? If not get one in writing and present it to the wc adjuster. The excuse needs to say you should be off of work for a work related injury and have a date of injury in the note.
by Steve Lombardi May 23, 2014 at 11:25 AM
I been out of work for almost three weeks now and I still havent been conpinsated for lost time out of work
by david May 22, 2014 at 12:14 PM
Dolores, you'll need to call the office so we can talk about your options. You may contact me by calling 515-222-1110 or send an email to [email protected]
by Steve Lombardi December 12, 2012 at 05:11 AM
Need to know what I can do because I hurt my back
by dolores morin December 11, 2012 at 11:59 PM
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